More On Market 2009
Of course classes comprise a small amount of the time that we spend at market. Eight hours a day are spent walking the floor of the convention center looking at yarns and related items and making, what we hope are, smart choices. There are a lot of companies trying to get our attention and convince us that they have something that we can’t live without.
The trends and fads change. A few years ago the show was full of novelty yarns, new companies were popping up everywhere and their only product was novelty yarns. Most of them are gone, although a couple have managed to survive adding traditional yarns to their lines while cutting novelty. Most of the ‘old timers’, who jumped onto the novelty yarn band wagon, have dropped their novelties and returned to who they were before. And a few companies who have always had a strong percentage of novelty yarns in their lines still do. Trendsetter and Prism are examples and Feza has joined them. Playing With Yarn has always carried a wide selection of novelties and will continue to but we also balance our inventory with traditional yarns. We basically have maintained the same percentages of each as when we opened.
As novelties geared down, hand-paints moved into fill the fad hole. A year ago it seemed that every backyard had a hand-dyer selling their yarns at market. Some were very good and others were not. Some good colors appeared on very nasty yarn. It looks like that has settled down too. A large percentage are gone leaving behind companies that have been around producing hand-dyes for a very long time as well as a few of the new ones. Those left are producing colors in quality fibers.
Some of this is the result of our troubled economy but much of it is a natural reduction to match demand. Many of the knitters who started just to knit scarves are on to other hobbies leaving behind long time knitters and those who had started as new knitters but have developed their skills and refined their tastes. These remaining are finding a real mix of gauges, fibers and styles in fibers to choose from. We see everything from fine lace weight to super bulky. There is a huge mix of animal, plant and synthetic fibers both within a category and mixing the categories. There are wonderful traditional wools to rare animal fibers and more plants than you can imagine. There are some very good synthetics. We are rich in the number and quality of selections.
I have tried to sort through and pick yarns that fit with yarns that we already have. In some cases, I have had to find replacements for yarns whose companies have either gone out of business or no longer fit our vision. In the majority of cases, I have chosen to enlarge lines that we have had relationships with for a long time. I like working with people who I feel shares a similar vision of the yarn industry and respect for the knitters. For me it is very much the idea of supporting people who I respect, trust and who I feel are honest with me. There are certainly some others who I feel would fit this model but my relationship with another company has been a long one and the nitch that they would fill is already filled.
So in the coming months as the new yarns come in you will see many old friends in new colors, some new relatives of yarns that you already know and some new kids on the block. You’ll find new patterns from some of your favorite designers and couple of new designers to try out. I have found some new crochet designers. I have found some really cool new designs from my favorites and what I hope is a solid offering in baby to adult garments and in a range of skill levels. I’ve even found some fun patterns and kits for toys and dolls. Plus I have found an exciting new environmentally friendly dye that you be hearing a lot more about.
One of the newer features for us at Market is a ‘Sample’ opportunity. Vendors have the option of selling selected items on a cash and carry basis for about a hour one evening. It is set up in a room outside the show floor and resembles a bazaar. We are able to purchase products, often offered as kits, so that we can have models ready when the new products arrive or to see if we like the product before we buy them. I know that I am behind on model knitting but I plan to have the items ready ASAP for you to see. A couple of the projects, I plan to ask some of the open knitting people to try them out and knit the models. I want to see what they think of them. The Open Knitting groups have a wide range of experience and interests including crochet so I have a good bunch to test them out.
In the evening after the fashion show – this like the Sample It happens after the Show floor closes at 6:00 P.M. we had a wonderful event and I was very proud that Playing With Yarn was listed as a partner participant. A number of companies sponsored an event floor “Save The Fleece. People pledged $1 an inch and knit on scarves. There was a substantial amount collected and many inches knit. The Playing With Yarn team is listed as one of the registered teams. Any one of you may join the shop team of form one of your own. See www.keepthefleece.org
or contact me
for more details on our team. We will have an going scarf in the shop – along with our shawl for Sheila’s shawl – so that you can come in and knit a few inches or you can send money to sponsor another knitter.
This is a long report and I have long ago finished my Cobb salad and Guinness. We took off ½ hour late and are now over some fluffy clouds somewhere between Columbus and Minneapolis. I still hope to have time for my birthday desert at TGIF before the plane to Duluth takes off. I will be sending emails off the future telling you about products as they come in.